Sunday, October 30, 2011

On the doorstep with Mischa Makortoff - Metro Electoral Area A Candidate

I've had a chance to speak with each of the five candidates running for the position of Metro Vancouver Director - Electoral Area A.  When I ran myself last time I argued that we needed "local leaders who are willing to work with diversity, who aren't afraid of being wrong, who are tolerant and open to collaboration."  I also believed that we need to take decisive and immediate actions to address the lack of democratic representation in our community.  Over the course of the last three years very little has been done to address the democratic deficit and, from what I have seen, there has been little attempt to include a diversity of voices from our local areas into the processes of governance.  Instead we have seen a worsening of our democratic representation.

Over the course of the past three years Metro Vancouver precipitated a land use battle with UBC that transferred local planning decisively into the hand of UBC's Developer led Board of Governors.  While this may work for property owners in the UEL it has serious consequences for the rest of us.  A minority of residents in the UNA area benefit from their longstanding ties to the UBC administration and, like property owners in the UEL, are not that concerned with UBC's control of local governance within the University boundaries.  But UBC isn't the right agency to make land use plans.  One simply needs to think about the current south campus plan to massively expand high rise construction along the front of Pacific Spirit Park and the imposition of the hospice on the residents of Promontory after a minority of students allayed with the Wreck Beach Preservation Society rejected it in near Marine Towers and St. John College to see how UBC handles land use plans - profit first, residents second.  Given this context we need a representative who is experienced in working collaboratively, who is not tied to local vested interests, and who is willing and able to work across and through intense political divides.

Through meeting and talking with the candidates I have come to the decision that Mischa Makortoff is the most reasonable and effective selection for our representative.  Mischa and I don't agree on every point - but that is an important point.  What we do agree on is that democracy is built upon real inclusion and civil consideration of disagreement. 

Here’s what I saw in Mischa that I find appealing – first he gets the way things are working out here and some of the key issues.  He’s the first to admit that he doesn’t know everything there is about the way things work but he is a quick study.  He has time to spare and energy to burn.  He’s flexible and he’s willing to work with people to get a job done.  I also found him very honest about what he is advocating for and what he needs to reflect upon before responding to, and what he sees as requiring discussion.  For example, on the governance issue he doesn’t have as clear a position as do I – but he is very willing to work with that and for an effective solution.  I was impressed by Mischa and believe that others will share that impression.

This time around my vote for effective, local leadership goes to Mischa Makortoff.   

I'll be working with Mischa to ensure that our representative speaks with and for all of us.  I'll be on the doorsteps in our community working to introduce Mischa and calling upon you to vote for our new Director for Electoral Area A, Mischa Makortoff.

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